Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goals, Goals, Goals!

Sorry for the delay in posting...been a long and busy weekend!  I've been doing alot of reading actually.

So I am pretty passionate about goals and goal setting.  I'm not an expert in goal setting for every facet of my life, but I am pretty good at setting healthy goals, and then balancing the "life boat" and realizing its going to rock my goals a little bit every now and then.

Lesson #1 about Weight Loss Goals:  Be Flexible.  You have to realize that stuff is going to happen.  Plans are going to change.  Crisis will emerge.  There are only certain circumstances you can control in regard to meeting your weight loss goals. 

A) Planning your food, not just your daytime food and snacks but your dinners so you can cook instead of pick up the cheap and fattening chinese food (that eventually will make you sick btw - its a little sad but I can't eat the general tso's chicken anymore without being seriously ill). 

B) Purchasing healthy options at the store.  If it doesn't make your list and isn't healthy, don't buy it!  This will also help your grocery budget as well.  You can buy extra if there are fruits or veggies on sale and you know you will use them (vs throwing them away a week later when they are rotten).  That's why the plan is so important.  Have a plan for every morsel, just like you should for every dollar.

C) Make healthy choices when you eat out.  Now there is some limitation here based on where you choose to eat - but there you go - the word choose.  Choose places you know have healthy options to start off, ok?  And if they have grilled chicken and veggie choices at whatever restaurant you visit, and you still choose fries, I don't want to hear your belly aching when you get on the scale and it isn't a happy number.  You don't have to eat what everyone else is eating.  After awhile you get used to being different and you also get used to finding healthy options.  I can do that pretty much anywhere.  Some of the more country places are a little more we just don't visit there as much.  OK?  ok.

So now that you know what you can control, lets talk about things you can't control.

A) Crisis.  When you are called to the hospital for a friend or family member I doubt you will grab your greek yogurt and bag of almonds.  If you even eat regularly during a crisis, it is likely mindless and just to satiate those around you.  In circumstances like this, what I do is become hyper-sensitive about food choices.  That's right, I become more concerned about them.  Is it great timing?  No.  But is it really important not to fall off the wagon for more than 1 day?  Absolutely.  I can think of specific instances in my life when I stopped eating healthy - it was one day that turned into one week that turned into one month that turned into years and gaining a bunch of pounds. 

{It's also really important to get underneath why you eat unhealthy food.  Is it convenience?  Is it when you are happy and sad?  So if you lose your job will that derail you?  Since I know that I'm an "any excuse will do" kind of person (well I used to be anyway), this is another time when I would become hyper-sensitive about my intake and output.  Because I know my will power is weakened in times of stress (or happiness - or really anytime - lol).  And since I know that about myself I know I can curb it to some degree.}

B) Budget.  This I can only sort of agree could be out of your control.  I have a family of 3 and this past weekend spent $68 purchasing our groceries and household stuff for the week (and I don't coupon like I wish I could - partly time, partly they don't have coupons for the food I eat).  Some weeks it is closer to $100 based on restocking laundry detergent or other higher dollar items.  But seriously, I spend less or about the same purchasing my groceries than I did before.  Because I plan.  I also rarely throw food away anymore.  That helps.  If you have a green thumb, consider planting your favorite veggies in a garden.  I would do that if I had more time.  :)  No matter what, it can be done on a budget. 

C) Your Routine Changes.  Seriously, this happens, but Big Deal!  When my parents come to town, I don't use that as an excuse to eat crappy.  I don't stop exercising so we can spend one extra hour together.  Excuses are so convenient but they also help you get in your own way of achieving your goals!  When your routine is change, it will just require more pre-planning.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be glad you spent the time to plan so you could respond - instead of reacting in an unhealthy way and potentially unraveling all of your hard work!

D) The People Around You Have Unhealthy Habits.  Listen up.  You are only responsible for your own choices.  (well that and those of your minor children).  But really.  You are a grown up.  Being different gets you picked on sometimes.  I got picked on when I was maintaining my healthy habits in November and December.  People were so bold as to tell me to give it up and pick it back up after January 1st.  No thank you.  I stayed strong and lost weight during the holidays.  Those people are the ones all interested in asking me how its done now that they've made a resolution.  And yes, I'm being helpful (and no this isn't you JB so quit snarking).  :)  You need to rally support from your spouse, your kids, your extended family.  I still struggle with some family members who are wildly unhealthy and just haven't figured out that I'm not on a diet (my MIL thinks I can't eat potatoes no matter how many times I tell her I can).  People that aren't walking in your shoes aren't going to understand your plight and your journey.  Either they support you or don't discuss it with them. But really, its important that they know the healthier you are, the better spouse, parent, friend, and co-worker you will be in the long run.  Trust me.

Lesson #2 about Weight Loss Goals:  Do NOT get overzealous when goal setting and start off with, "I'm going to lose 3 pounds a week and exercise 7 days a week and and and..."  Seriously.  Be realistic.  Look at your calendar.  Without losing necessary sleep and ignoring your family, can you do 3 days a week to start?  Maybe that will increase to 4?  I exercise in some way about 5 days a week.  Sometimes more.  I started by walking just 3 days a week.  I needed extra rest days for the chaffing and bleeding feet.  :)  Start somewhere.  But make it realistic.  It might be more realistic to set a goal that says "I'm going to lose between 1-2 pounds per week and exercise at least 3 days per week."  So you can start there.  You will lose a bunch your first week.  That is typically water weight so don't think "Ooh, I can lose 6 pounds a week!"  OK?  Ok. 

Lesson #3 about Weight Loss Goals:  Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.  Anyone working in the business world should know this acronym well, but in case you don't I'll break it down for you.

S - Specific:  Goals need to be specific.  So instead of "I'm going to lose weight this year" you will want to say something more like, "I'm going to lose 40 pounds by December 31st by eating healthier and exercising." 

M - Measurable: Goals need to be measurable.  How will you measure the goal?  I would break your goal up into smaller pieces.  When I had over 100 pounds to lose, it was really daunting to think about it that way.  So I set smaller goals.  Lose 25 pounds by this date.  Then 50 pounds by this date.  I would also recommend you take your body measurements and create a little homemade excel spreadsheet and measure yourself monthly.  Its amazing to watch the inches drop and another great, measurable aspect of your goal setting. 

A - Action-oriented:  What action will you be taking to meet your goal?  This is where you can detail your plans to eat healthier and exercise. When you talk about what you will need to do in order to reach your goal, you might actually do it.  Weight loss isn't going to happen to you.  You are going to make it happen.  With action.

R - Realistic: This is where the overzealous goal you were going to write was shot down a few paragraphs back.  You have to set goals that make sense.  And you have to be realistic about how you are going to do it.  And eliminating a food group, or counting points for the rest of your life, may not really be realistic.  OK?  ok.

T - Time-bound: This goes back to not setting goals that are too lofty.  Putting a time limit on it is helpful - as long as you leave some wiggle room for life to happen.  Because it will.  Again, this is where breaking up your weight loss into chunks (sorry couldn't resist saying chunks here - hehe) is so important. 

Don't plan to do this all cold turkey and overnight.  Get your mind wrapped around the changes you are going to make for a healthier lifestyle.  You might not even want to write your first goal around losing weight.  Maybe you want to first start drinking water.  So how much water do you want to be drinking a day, by when?  Then move on to the next small change. 

I promise you these changes will add up.  They did for me.

Have I met every goal perfectly that I have set for myself?  No.  Because life happened.  But I was flexible, remember?  And I have lost almost 80 pounds.  So there (hah).  I still don't have a degree in nutrition or health science.  I'm just a fat chick who has figured it out and wants to share it.  OK?  ok.

That's all for now...feel free to post questions or let me know about other topics that might help you!


No comments: